Saturday, 9 August 2008

Is this Batman the most insane ever?

I saw 'The Dark Knight' today and wondered how anyone with a fragile state of mind could ever possibly recover from a paranoid comedown that the making of this movie could induce. It is an all-encompassing, full-frontal attack on the nervous system and very painful to watch. Its nihilistic violence is frameworked by a screenplay that lays bare the dichotomy between good and bad and, consequently, no one comes out squeaky clean. But it's the insanity that's contagious.

Heath Ledger must no doubt have been a fragile, vulnerable human being. It's hardly surprising that he was left in a state whereby each and every day must have been tortuous to contemplate and the only recourse to oblivion was a drug induced haze. His portrayal of The Joker demonstrated what could only have been Ledger's internal demons being brought to the fore and then, having done all that for the camera, he was left to contemplate scripts where he would have been employed as the foil for a giddy Cameron Diaz or ditzy Sienna Miller.

You can't play around with the mad. You can't utilise their creative talent and then discard them once they've fulfilled what a controlling director has in his view finder. There's more than a tragic irony that the psychotic and amoral Joker uses the paranoid schizophrenics to carry out his orders. What does it say about writers, directors and producers that they write parts for people who normally would be considered terminally ill members of society? Would they be so glib with people suffering Parkinson's Disease or Alzheimer's?

Brilliant to watch for its visual impact, it was hugely uncomfortable to note to what extent Ledger was immersed in his character. You have to hope that it didn't become him; that he didn't fear that he would eventually somehow resemble what he had been paid to portray. But it's hard to believe that it didn't - and that's why he succumbed to such an early and unneccessary death.

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